Bronze death mask of Stalin sold in Britain

London: A bronze cast from Joseph Stalin`s death mask, one of only 12 made after the Soviet dictator`s death in 1953, was sold in Britain today for 4,400 (USD 6,860), the auction house said.

The mask and accompanying bronze casts of Stalin`s hands -- the left one withered -- had been estimated to sell at between USD 3,000 and USD 5,000. The final price of USD 4,400 includes the buyer`s premium, Mullock`s auctioneers said.

"It`s an interesting and unusual item. There were lots of telephone bids and Internet interest," said Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents expert at Mullock`s, adding that it went to a private telephone bidder in Britain.

Originally brought to the West by art dealer James Birch, who purchased it in Moscow in 1990, the bronze death mask shows Stalin`s hair swept back from his forehead and clearly outlines his famous moustache.

Ten of the bronzes made after the dictator`s death are thought to be in Russia, with the 11th held in a private collection in London following its sale at Sotheby`s auction house in the early 1990s, Westwood-Brookes said.


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